Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wandering Around Ho Chi Minh City!

I started my last day in HCMC early. First because I need to look for a money changer that early since we ran out of VNDs already, second is because its my friends birthday and I wanted to look around and buy flowers for her. I was totally clueless on where to change my Philippine Peso. Money changers around Pham Ngu Lao only accepts US Dollars and other major currencies. Good thing a nice old woman told me that I need to get somewhere near Ben Thanh Market (which is a few blocks away from Pham Ngu Lao) since there is a money changer who accepts Philippine Peso. She recommended a motorcycle driver to take me to that place, then back to Pham Ngu Lao paying VND 50,000 (originally VND 100,000 but of course I haggled). It was actually a little expensive than riding a cab but my worry is I wont be able to give directions since I also don't know where exactly that place is, and besides, I also wanted to ride the motorcycle at least once while I was there. So I put on my helmet and stroll along the city streets of HCMC on a cool Sunday morning.

I had my money changed and went back to Pham Ngu Lao after about 20 minutes. I walked around to look for a flower shop but I cant find one. But as I gave up I saw this lovely lady selling fresh flowers! What an angel!

I head back to the hotel give the flowers to myfriend, freshened up and head back out again for a city day tour.

Our first destination, Ben Thanh Market!

Ben Thanh is like our Divisoria. It has different sections from clothes to food to produce and many many more. We went to look for Trung Nguyen Coffee to bring home to my buddies in Manila.

Since it was around 12:00, we decided to go to Nha Hang Ngon to have our lunch since its very near the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central post office and Reunification Palace.

Going to Pasteur Stret from Ben Thanh Market

Pasteur Street

After having lunch me and my friend walked along Pasteur Street towards Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and Reunification Palace. Then this beautiful park welcomed us.

We the walked through the park towards the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Notre Dame Cathedral is a splendid work of art. The structure in red bricks towered in the middle of a plaza. Its a popular place for tourist and actually is the core cathedral of Saigon. I am beguiled by structures such as this. With its Neo Romanesque design, it draws attention from people since it contrast the Asian orientation of the country itself.

***Did you know that the Notre Dame Cathedral was established by French colonists? The cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of over 58 meters (190 feet). Following the French conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists.

Just right beside the Cathedral stood the Central Post Office.

*** Did you know that the Saigon Central Post office was designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel? Yes! The same architect who designed the Eiffel tower.

There were a lot of tourist when we went inside the post office. It is beautiful! Eiffel definitely did great once again. The design inside the building was intricate and charming. At first I thought it was big inside but I was a bit surprised because it was not as big as I thought it was based on the photos I've seen. Anyway, for me it is still a magnificent building.

Finally, we head toward the Reunification Palace.

*** Did you know that The Reunification Palace was once called The Independence Palace? It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, when a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates.

Me and my friend opted not to go inside anymore for there are a lot of people visiting the place. We just actually passed by the place and hail a cab then went back to Pham Ngu Lao to get some rest and another round of Ca Phe Sua Da. :)

Great day in Ho Chi Minh!


michymichymoo said...

Vietnam pala looks like Europe and Asia at the same time. Pero parang mas malinis sa kanila.haha.

jssica wabbit said...

There are areas na medyo hindi ganun kalinis but I'd say yeah, mas malinis sa kanila ng konti. Hehehe.